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PlayStation Store hits Android-based Sony tablets

by Kristen Nicole

Android tablets are getting a well-deserved boost with the launch of Ice Cream Sandwich. Android head, Andy Rubin, revealed there’s about 6 million Android tablets floating around, which is only slightly encouraging in light of Apple’s 40 million iPads sold. For Android manufacturers, differentiation is key as they compete against each other to dominate not only the Android tablet market, but the tablet space in its entirety. Sony is looking to media and entertainment for its tablet expansion strategy, with music and game streaming for its tablet devices.

The Tokyo-based company launched a new version of its Music Unlimited app for Android tablets this week, along with a PlayStation store, allowing certified games to be purchased and downloaded to the device. Initially available in the U.S., Canada, Japan and major European markets, this media-centric upgrade is rapidly making its way across the globe. Sony’s been working on growing its software offerings, and gaming has been a key market for the manufacturer, first launching the Xperia PLAY several months back. For PlayStation in particular, it’s making its rounds across connected devices of all sorts, including Bravia TVs, the Xperia PLAY, and consoles.

And it seems Sony’s quite excited about Android 4.0, with plans to release supported Xperia devices sometime next year. Sony Ericsson’s stayed ahead of the curve with its Xperia line, especially with its appeal to gamers. The Xperia PLAY has become a great marketing opportunity for game developers, some of which choose the game-specific device for exclusive or early launches. Such is the case with OrangePixel, which will offer retro platformer INC first on the Xperia PLAY, with other Android devices following shortly thereafter.

Android attracts Grand Theft Auto, social betting

The promise of Android devices is drawing in several game developers, including the makers of Grand Theft Auto. An Android release is headed our way, commemorating the ten year anniversary of GTA III, marking a significant step for the franchise as it looks to capture a new generation. There’s no details on the exact release date or pricing of GTA for Android, but it’s one of the most anticipated mobile releases of the season.

Encouraging an entire sub-market for the gaming industry, Android devices will also be part of Crowdpark's distribution strategy around legal betting games. The game publisher raised $8 million in a funding round this week, jump-starting its plans to launch social betting games across mobile devices and networking sites. Based on its virtual currency, Crowdpark is placing its own bets on this cross-platform strategy, following the success of Zynga Poker and others with their own spin on the game.